Undergraduate Research Dispatch: Wenny Miao on Urban Sensing

25 Apr, 2018

Undergraduate Research Dispatch: Wenny Miao on Urban Sensing

This year, BCNM continued its undergraduate research fellowship program, which offers undergraduates the chance to engage in direct research experience with BCNM graduates. Wenny Miao was selected to work with Noura Howell on her project FEELER/CRAWLER/OCTOPET.

In her own words:

I learned so much this past semester working with Noura on her project about urban sensing, not only getting the opportunity to develop a lot of my technical skills, but also getting a glimpse into a side of engineering that I haven’t really been able to experience through my classes and my clubs.

On the technical side, I’ve gotten to experiment with some different electronics, which was really interesting. Getting to kind of learn on my own about a microcontroller that neither of us had much experience with taught me a lot about different concepts that I’ve never come across before, such as headless servers, and networking between devices. On a more mechanical side, I’ve gotten to do a lot of really fun, interesting designs on CAD, with a lot of focus on aesthetics. In class, and in my past clubs, our goal was always first of all to have a functional end product, and it was very cool to design with a different end goal in mind, and to be allowed to get creative and create graceful and cool-looking parts.

Going along with this, working on Noura’s project has shown me more about the place engineering has in art and kind of the social impact that it can have. As I said before, my education so far has been very technical, and it was exciting to be able to have a sort of escape from all the calculations and formulas. Though I do enjoy the math side of engineering usually, it was really good to have productive breaks that reminded me why I enjoy engineering and design when the math got frustrating.

My experience this semester reaffirmed, for me, my interest in design, and it allowed really recognize and enjoy the challenge of designing with form being a factor just as important as function. It exposed me to more artistic side of engineering, which I definitely look forward to exploring more in my future studies. I really look forward to the rest of the time that I’m working with Noura, and am excited to see what we end up creating!